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Lord Morris of Aberavon KG, PC, KC

This week we learnt of the death of our beloved Patron, Lord Morris of Aberavon who died aged 91. We were so blessed to have such a keen and inspirational Patron, who was a great friend to many of us in the Association of London Welsh Lawyers from its foundation 12 years ago.

Lord Morris was a man of great humanity, humour and kindness.  His extraordinary career, combining over 60 years in Parliament, will not be matched.  He was one of the very few who could master both law and politics. He achieved tremendous success in both.  

Lord Morris truly believed in public service, and his life’s story showed that in great abundance. He broke many records in proving this life-long dedication. He was the longest serving Welsh MP (41 years), and thereafter served for over 20 years in the House of Lords.  He served in the cabinets of 3 Prime Ministers (Wilson, Callaghan, and Blair), spending 33 years on the frontbenches in various roles including Secretary of State for Wales and Attorney General. He was the longest serving Privy Counsellor.  In 2003, he received the extraordinary honour and high distinction of being made a Knight Companion of the Order of the Garter (a very personal sign of her late Majesty’s personal friendship and deep fondness for John).

He was born in Capel Bangor, Aberystwyth. His 5 other brothers were all farmers in Cardiganshire.  John described himself whimsically at “the black sheep of the family” as he went onto study law.  After his undergraduate degree at the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth, he went onto study at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge and at the Academy of International Law at The Hague. He was called to the Bar by Gray’s Inn in 1954 and took silk in 1973, practising from the highly regarded 2 Bedford Row Chambers in London.  He was made a Bencher by Gray’s Inn in 1985.

He was a very enthusiastic Welshman.  He aligned himself with so many Welsh causes throughout his life.  He was one of the main architects of Welsh devolution, believing in it before so many others had even started to grasp its strength and potential for Wales. He remained so active on all Welsh matters in the House of Lords until the very end.

We in the Association of London Welsh Lawyers will miss John greatly. He was an inspiration to us all. There will be a memorial service to celebrate his long and distinguished life, and we will let you know the date when that is known.

Our thoughts and prayers go to Margaret and John’s daughters and grandchildren at this sad time, when they reflect on the loss of this wonderful and extraordinary man.

 

Hefin Rees KC

Chairman of ALWL

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